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spite Barn Burning

Barn Burning "Youre getting to be a man. You got to learn. You got to learn to stick to your own blood or you aint going to have any blood to stick to you." This quote from William Faulkners "Barn Burning" does reveal a central issue in the story, as Jane Hiles suggests in her interpretation. The story is about blood ties, but more specifically, how these ties affect Sarty (the central character of the story). The story examines the internal conflict and dilemma that Sarty faces. When the story begins, Sarty and his family are in a courtroom. Sarty, known in a proper setting as Colonel Sartoris, which in itself gives an insight into the families mentality. Sartys father, Abner Snopes is being accused of a barn burning. Right away, as Sarty is called to testify, you get an idea of what is going through the boys head, and the mentality that has be ingrained in him. He thinks to himself, Enemy! Enemy!, referring to the people that his father and his family for that matter are up against. Sarty would later discover that things are not always the way that his father leads everyone to believe they are. Sarty, somewhere deep down wants to just do what is right, but being roughly 10 years old, I dont think he quite has that figured out yet. His sense of right and wrong has been biased under the tyranny of his father. We also get a good idea of the personality of the father, Abner, by the way Sarty describes his physical appearance. Abner is not a man of a lot of words, demonstrated in many instances. We see this in the way he addresses his family, in the way he communicates with other characters, and most importantly in his outrageous stunts in his attempts to prove that know one will ever run over Abner Snopes and his family. He more or less uses actions to speak for him. Thats sort of the whole idea behind Abner Snopes. Hes a man with so much pride that he will go to any lengths to get revenge upon those who wrong him or try to own him, even if it means breaking the law. His actions, make bold statements about what kind of man he is. Barn burning is his largest and always final statement. But, he sort of builds up to that, as we can see in the story. Once Abner and his family are run out of town in the beginning of the story (which seems to be a frequent occurrence with this family) they find another home and another farm to work. Immediately, Abner takes Sarty up to the landlords house, where Abner purposely steps in manure and walks into the house and proceeds to rub the manure into a very fine rug. There seems to be no apparent reason for the action other than the fact that the landlord in a way owns Abner Snopes and his family, because the landlord own the land they will have to work for a living. Therefore, they are at the mercy of the landlord. This doesnt sit well with Abner, and the purpose of soiling the rug must be, again to make a statement about who he is, and to let the landlord know that he doesnt bow to anyone. Soon, the rug is brought down to the farm and presented to the family, who must now clean it. Abner, instead of getting his wife, or his sons to clean the rug, (not to mention himself as well) instructs his two daughters, described as big, lethargic and bovine, to take care of the task. The rational behind this is, Abner knows that the two daughters will more than likely not do a proper job of washing the rug. Hes a very spiteful man. When the rug is returned to the owner and determined to be ruined, Abner is ordered to pay the land owner twenty bushels of corn against his families share of the crop. It is later decided in court, by the Justice of the Peace that he will only be required to pay ten bushels of corn. Of course, ... more

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The Downfall of Macbeth

The Downfall of Macbeth


       Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, is the tragic tale of  Macbeth,
a virtuous man, corrupted by power and greed. This tragedy can be classified by
one of two theories. One theory suggests that the tragic hero, Macbeth, is led
down an unescapable road of doom by an outside force; namely the three witches.
The second suggests that there is no supernatural force working against Macbeth,
which therefore makes him responsible for his own actions and inevitable
downfall. Macbeth is indeed responsible for his own actions which are provoked
by Lady Macbeth, the witches,  his ambition, and an unwillingness to listen to
his own conscience. These forces had no direct control over his actions but
simply pointed out different paths for him to follow. Ultimately, Macbeth chose
the path of darkness.

Throughout  the entire play Macbeth ignores the voice of his own
conscience. He knows what he is doing is wrong even before he murders Duncan.
His own conscience is nagging at him but he allows Lady Macbeth and greed to
cloud his judgement. In referring to the idea of the murder of Duncan, Macbeth
first states,"We will proceed no further in this business"(I, vii, 32). Yet,
after speaking with Lady Macbeth he recants and proclaims, "I am settled, and
bend up /Each corporal agent to this terrible feat"(I, vii, 79-80). He allows
himself to be swayed by the woman he loves. Lady Macbeth gave him an ultimatum
and provoked him by saying:

When you durst do it, then you were a man;
And to be more than what you were, you would
Be so much more the man..... (I, vii, 49-51)

She provokes him by questioning his manhood and then saying that he would be a
much greater man if he were to go through with the deed. Macbeth then had to
make a decision. He willingly chose to follow the path of death and destruction.
Lady Macbeth simply showed him that path.

It is easy to believe that the witches controlled Macbeth and made him
follow a path of doom. The predictions they give, coupled with their unholy ways
suggest that they are in control of him. They are not. It is admittedly strange
that the weird sisters first address Macbeth with,"All hail, Macbeth! Hail to
thee Thane of Cawdor!"(I, iii, 49), a title which not even Macbeth is aware he
has been awarded. Even stranger is the third witch calling to Macbeth,"All hail,
Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!"(I, iii, 50). Here it may seem as if the
witches are using their supernatural powers to control Macbeth's future. All
they have done is foretold his future. A prophecy is hardly  an invitation to
murder. Banquo hears the witches' words and tells Macbeth:

   The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
 Win us with honest trifles, to betray's
 In deepest consequence (I, iii, 124-126)

He is telling Macbeth not to be swayed by the witches even though one of the
prophecies has come true. It is a warning that Macbeth ignores. He is so
enraptured by the prophecies of the witches that he consciously follows a path
of darkness in an effort to fulfil the prophecies

It can also be shown that the witches definitely have no physical
control over Macbeth. At the very beginning of the scene, the first witch
punishes a sailor's wife by tossing his ship about on the seas. This in turn
will cause his sleeplessness.

 Weary sev'nights nine times nine
 Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine:
 Though his bark cannot be lost,
 Yet it shall be tempest-tossed (I, iii, 22-25)

The witches can do no more to Macbeth than they did to the sailor. The witch can
toss the ship about but she cannot cause its sinking nor can she directly cause
the sailor to go without sleep. She must cause the sailor's misery indirectly by
tossing his ship about  The witches may tell the future and tempt Macbeth; they
may toss about his "bark", but they have no direct influence over him. Only
Macbeth controls his actions.

The final argument for the theory that Macbeth is reponsible for his own
actions, would be a point  that the infamous witches and Macbeth agree upon.
This point exists in the form of Macbeth's ambiton. In the soliloquy that
Macbeth gives before he murders Duncan, he states:

...I have no spur
To prick the sides of intent, but only
Vaulting ambition,... (I, vii, 25-27).
These are not the words of a man who is merely being led down ... more

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